Nepal Today

Thursday, February 28, 2013

VDC SECRETARIES RESUME WORK FRIDAY Kathmandu, 1 March: More than 3,600 VDC secretaries resume work Friday after a two-day strike following government willingness to consider demands. Secretaries demanded local elections not held for more than w decade. Government officials are doing the job of elected persons, mainly party workers. ON the absece of security, village secretaries were working from district headquarters. nnnn POLICE INSPECTOR PROBING JOURNALIST MURDER DENIED PROMOTION Kathmandu, 1 March: Inspector Binod Sharma didn’t get a promotion Sunday, Prakash Adhikari and Pratika Baskota write in Kantipur from Dailekh. Inspector Sharma’s work was appreciated when four Maoists were arrested for possible involvement in the murder of journalist Dipendra Thapa. Police headquarters Sunday promoted 58 inspectors to rank DIG and Sharma’s name was not included in the list. Government was unhappy with the police investigation of the murder even though Sharma’s work was first appreciated. nnnn NEW ARCHAEOLOGICAL OBJECTS RECOVERED IN TILAURAKOT Kathmandu, 1 March:: A number of archaeological objects have been found from the excavations carried out in the ancient fort located in the Tilaurakot palace of Kapilvastu, Manjima Dhakal writes in The Rising Nepal from Kapilvastu.. The finds provide sufficient evidence that ancient kingdom of Kapilvastu ruled by King Suddodhan was located here, say the archaeologists. These objects were unearthed by a joint excavation team of Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) and the Archaeology Department of Durham University of Britain which started works from February 3. The excavation of the fort located at the northern side of Tilaurakot palace is a part of a five-year excavation project. Speaking at the closing of the fort excavation project, coordinator of the excavation project Kosh Prasad Acharya said that more than 60,000 fragments of earthenware and over 30,000 other archaeologically important objects were discovered. The finds include terracotta bangles, valuable handles, charcoal, terracotta images, coins, animal images and pieces of beads, among others. In 1962, an Indian archaeologist Dewala Mitra had conducted an excavation at this location. But she had written a controversial excavation report concluding that it is not possible to go beyond the Third Century. Indian Archaeologist has excavated same structure in 1962 AD and makes public a report where she mentioned that excavating more than three centuries ago is not possible. However, re-excavation of thirteen layers already excavated by Mitra and fresh excavation of the fort area found rich treasure of archaeological objects, said Ram Bahadur Kunwar, archaeological officer at the Department of Archaeology. Excavation of the natural level of the ground discovered objects that dated back to Third Century, Kunwar said. The finds also facilitated for time determination, he added. Basanta Bidari, senior archaeologist said the excavation has indicated that the place used to have human settlements even before the Sixth Century, the time of King Suddodhan, father of Siddhartha Gautam. The specimen of the finds will be sent to Britain for lab studies. We have to wait until the results of the tests come out. The team was excavated these objects in a safe way making sure that no objects were damaged in course of the digging. Last year, the Loharsariya Stupa are located in the southern side of Tilaurakot, was excavated. A nine-member team including Professor Cunningham, vice chancellor of Durham University, had carried out the excavation. The team was coordinated by Acharya. Mark Manual, Ms. Jennifer Tremblay, Christopher Davis of Durham University, senior scientist Basanta Bidari, archaeological officers Krishna KC, Himal Upreti and Ram Bahadur Kunwar were other members of the team. nnnn PUSHKAR SHAH TO LEAD CYCLING GROUP ON GREAT HIMALAYAN TRAIL Kathmandu, 1 March: A team of cyclists led by Nepali world cyclist Puskar Shah is scheduled to paddle the 1700 kilometer long Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) from April 5 to May 20, The Rising Nepal reports. The GHT is the longest trekking trail of the world recently discover along the high hills and Himalayan mountains from far east to far west of Nepal. Organizing a press conference here in capital on Thursday, Shah made public the team’s cycling plan along the high altitude trekking trail. The main aim of the GHT cycling is to promote the newly discovered trail among national and international potential tourists discovering a cycling route so as to eventually improve livelihood of the peoples residing along the trail, he said. As all the routes in GHT are not feasible for cycling, we will trek only along certain areas, he said. Our cycling route might be different in some places to that of previous trekkers along the GHT, he added. Shah, who had already paddled across 150 countries of the world in past 11 years, said that cycling along the high Himalaya in own country would be a different experience and opportunity for learning. World Cyclist Foundation Nepal is managing the GHT Cycling plan in the name of Tour de Great Himalaya Trail. The foundation targets to build 30 eco community lodges along the trail in next five years in collaboration with local communities and schools in the region. According to the plan, an eco community lodge will be made by the foundation in the distance of one day’s cycling. The foundation has planned to mobilize local communities and local government bodies, schools, and trekkers for the sustainability of the project. The foundation has urged all to support the plan of building eco community lodges by contributing Rs. 100 for every kilometer of cycling trail. The organizers informed that no conclusive support has been obtained to the project yet. However, Rotary International and non-resident Nepalese from various countries have shown their interests in funding the plan. The cycling team will have six members including Shah. nnnn

CA REVIVAL IRRELEVANT SAYS DEUBA Kathmandu, 1 March: : Senior leader of the Nepali Congress and former Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, has said that the name of the Chief Justice (CJ) was proposed for leading an election government as an alternative after consensus could not be forged among the major political parties, RSS reports from Kanchanpur.. Speaking at a news conference organised by the Nepal Press Union, Kanchanpur, at Mahendranagar, today, Deuba said that political parties are close to consensus for giving leadership of an election government to the CJ. The former prime minister said that the CJ was forwarded as an alternative as CJ showed his willingness to accept the leadership of an election government. He said he is confident that the CJ-led government will hold free and fair election. Deuba said that the government under the leadership of the CJ would not affect the principle of separation of powers and norms and values of democracy as it will only remain until the election. Recalling that he had raised the issue of revival of the Constituent Assembly (CA), the NC senior leader said it has become irrelevant as political parties were not agreed on it. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “There is no reason to trust UCPN-M. They have cheated many times. Though some party leaders were for having the prime minister from within the party the CPN-UML had taken the wrong path by accepting the UCPN-M proposal.’ (Former Prime Minister and UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal,, The Himalayan Times, 1 March) “I have come here with the government relief package of Rs 6 million. The victims of the Bandarmudhe incident can spend it the way they wish to. “I had decided not to come here without a relief package, and I am here today in front of you with the relief package.” (Maoist Chief Prachanda, The Himalayan Times, 1 March) Nnnn PARAS TO CONTINUE TREATMENT IN SAME HOSPITAL Kathmandu, 1 March: A team of doctors involved in the treatment of former crown prince Paras Shah, who has been in critical care of Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, today [Thursday] decided not to shift Paras to any other health facility, saying he was making progress. Good, Laxmi Maharjan writes in The Himalayan Times from Bangkok. The decision was taken after former king Gyanendra Shah held consultations with the doctors this morning. The ex-king visited the hospital today twice — at 11:00am and 5:00pm. The ex-crown prince was admitted to Samitivej on the evening of February 19 after he suffered a major heart attack and since then he has been unconscious and on ventilator support. Doctors, who have described his condition as critical but stable, yesterday said some movement in his limbs was observed with his blood pressure and heart rate maintained without the need of medication. Sunil Khadka, General Secretary of Non-Resident Nepali Association (Thailand chapter) said though there was some improvement in the former crown prince’s health, his condition was still critical but stable. He described the improvement as a miracle. “The doctors will conduct an MRI of his head tomorrow,” he said. A health bulletin issued by the hospital said the blood pressure and heart rate were under control and spontaneous movement of limbs has been maintained. “His condition remains critical but stable,” it said. Members of Nepali Burmese community and Nepalis residing in Thailand have been visiting the hospital regularly to take stock of Paras’s health. The ex-king also thanked all well-wishers who were present on the hospital premises to enquire after his son. “It’s because of your prayers he has been showing improvement,” he said. nnnn ANTI-GRAFT DEMONSTRATION ENTERS DAY 7 Kathmandu, 1 March:: The fast-onto-death hunger strike of Sharad Bhushal Jha at Shantibatika entered its seventh day today, The Himalayan Times reports. Jha and her supports have been arrested twice and put in police custody. She had continued her fast even in detention. They have forwarded an 11-point demand including action against the people involved in the corruption at Danuali Banauli VDC of Dhanusha. The protesters were arrested while they were preparing to launch a sit-in in front of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority. They were kept in the Metropolitan Police Sector, Kamalpokhari for two days, after being released they were again arrested from Shantibatika and kept at the Metropolitan Police Sector, Durbarmarg for five hours, said Shyam Lal Shah, assistant of Jha. “Though it says ‘zero tolerance’ and there is ‘Hello Sarkar’ to listen to the incidence of corruption, but when we ask for corruption control with evidence, police misbehave us,” Shah quoted Jha as saying. Jha’s health condition has deteriorated. However, she is determined to continue with the fast until the government steps against the rampant corruption, Shah said. Chairman of CPN Maoist Party Matrika Yadav, Nepal Sadbhawana Party’s Chairman Sarita Giri, Chairman of Dalit Janajati Party Biswendra Paswan and chairman of Nepal Nagarik Party Hari Adhikari have expressed solidarity with Jha. Meanwhile, CIAA today issued a press statement appealing Jha and other campaigners to support the CIAA’s investigation on Danauli and Banauli cases. CIAA has vowed to investigate the corruption in the local bodies as soon as possible and will book those involved people duly, it said. Meanwhile, Shah, who is also a campaigner, said CIAA should walk the talk. Jha had staged a 13-day fast-onto-death in Dhanusha and the secretary of the government Trilochan Upreti had flown to Dhanusha and promised to address the concern of corruption in local bodies. The protesters’ demands include corruption control, appointment of CIAA commissioners, payment of social security allowance through banks, stopping disbursement of funds to local bodies in the absence of elected local representatives, transfer of VDC secretaries in accordance with laws and dissolution of civil servants’ trade unions. - See more at: nnnn

NO INCREASED POWER CUT DURING KA;I GANDAKI REPAIRS Kathmandu, 1 March; Repairs of the 144MW Kali Gandaki-A Hydro Project begin Friday. Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has ruled out increasing daily crippling 12- hours during repairs expected to last nearly two weeks. Nnnn INDIA ASKED TO CLOSE DOWN FIELD OFFICE Kathmandu, 1 March : Expressing strong reservations over its dilly-dallying in closing its ´field office´ based in Biratnagar, the government has written again to the Indian embassy here to immediately close the office that was opened in the aftermath of the massive Koshi flooding back in 2008, Kosh Raj Koirala writes in Republica.. Highly placed government sources said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) recently wrote to the Indian embassy, asking it to immediately close the office. MoFA has maintained that the office, which was opened to facilitate vehicular movement through Indian territory when a section of road on the Nepal side was disrupted by the flood, is no longer necessary. Officials said MoFA decided to write again to the Indian embassy as there was no response to a letter sent in January, 2011. “We have categorically directed the Indian embassy to immediately close the office as it was no longer necessary,” said a senior official at MoFA. “We are surprised at the Indian side dilly-dallying in closing the office even after our directives.” The Indian embassy had opened a ´field office´ near Koshi Barrage to provide ´permits´ to Nepalese vehicles in the aftermath of a breach in the Koshi embankment at Kushaha, Sunsari district on August 18, 2008. Officials said the office was relocated to Biratnagar without consent from MoFA after the broken road section was repaired a few months later. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha confirmed MoFA´s directive. “We have asked through diplomatic channels for closure of the office since its relevance has already ended,” he said. Apart from its embassy in Kathmandu, India has a consulate general in Birgunj. Recently, then Indian Consul General S D Mehta had organized a cocktail party in Birgjunj and reportedly asked the guests to bring about ´a storm´ in Madhes before May 27, 2012 -- the deadline for promulgating a new statute. This attempt to unduly influence political leaders had drawn huge protest in various parts of the country after it became public through media the next day, and there were even demands for Mehta´s immediate expulsion from the country. Nnnn LEGAL EAGLES SEE RED OVER CJ's ACCEPTANCE OF PM OFFER Kathmandu, 1 March Chief Justice (CJ) Khil Raj Regmi´s formal acceptance of the offer of premiership has further exasperated constitutional and legal experts who have vehemently objected to the decision of the major political parties to form a CJ-led government, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. A day after the CJ broke his silence on the decision and said he was positive about the proposal, Nepal Bar Association (NBA), the umbrella organization of lawyers across the country, said he does not have any moral grounds to continue in office as the chief justice. An emergency meeting of NBA held in the capital on Tuesday, which was also attended by former NBA presidents, general secretaries and Kathmandu Valley unit presidents, concluded that a sitting chief justice cannot be the executive head of the country. The apex court, issuing a press statement on Monday, had said the chief justice was positive regarding the proposal and that he would accept the post to end the ongoing political deadlock. Constitutional and legal experts have also accused the CJ of violating the code of conduct by holding a meeting with defendants of a sub-judice case. Regmi had held a meeting with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal who have been ordered by the apex court to furnish clarification over the decision to form a CJ-led government. Chairman of Democratic Lawyers´ Association (DLA) Yadunath Khanal said though the CJ´s move will not affect the relationship between the court and NBA immediately, the issue raised by the umbrella organization of the lawyers is very serious. “He (Regmi) is still holding the post of CJ. So, he must make his view public regarding the moral issue raised by NBA,” Khanal added. Khanal warned of possible attack on the independence of judiciary if law is violated on the pretext of political consensus. However, former NBA General Secretary Raman Kumar Shrestha claimed that the relationship between the court and NBA has already turned sour following the “strong worded” statement issued by NBA this week. “How one can say that the relationship between the bench and NBA is normal after NBA raised questions over the moral integrity of the head of judiciary,” he stated. Shrestha accused NBA of distorting the facts and said the CJ did not go to meet the political leaders but that the latter had met the CJ with the proposal on formation of a government-led by him. Political analyst Tula Narayan Sah said the protest of NBA against the CJ´s move proved that the proposal on formation a government led by sitting CJ could not remain undisputed even in the legal sector. “The stance of NBA against CJ-led government also indicates that the relationship between the bench and NBA will not remain smooth in future,” Sah said. ----- ´CJ statement tragic´ Meanwhile, Republica caught up with NBA Vice-president Tikaram Bhattarai on Thursday to talk about implications of the CJ´s latest move. Excerpts: What is your opinion about the Supreme Court (SC) statement regarding the chief justice (CJ)´s readiness to accept the offer of premiership? The apex court has issued such a statement for the first time in its history. This is a very unfortunate and tragic event. Will the recent move affect the relationship between the bench and NBA? This is not something related to the bench and NBA. It is completely related to the CJ´s personal ambition to become the prime minister. So, the relationship between NBA and the bench will remain as it was. But the statement was issued by the apex court and not the CJ. The SC had issued the statement upon instructions from CJ. It was not a statement of the apex court. However, it was not appropriate for the CJ to use SC letter pad to issue his personal statement. What will be NBA´s next step as it has kept silence after condemning the CJ´s move by issuing a press statement? We don´t prefer taking to the streets as we represent the intelligentsia. We put our views in a legal and constitutional way. Our single statement has caused a stronger impact than 10 days of strike. NBA has been accused of not coming up with stringent programs as its officials are affiliated to the political parties that have forwarded the proposal of a CJ-led government. What do you say? If we were not against the decision of the political parties, we would not have protested the move in the first place. If 109 political parties stand at one side against independence of judiciary, separation of powers and people´s fundamental rights, NBA will stand to safeguard independence of judiciary, separation of powers and people´s fundamental rights. What long-term impact will it have on democracy if the sitting CJ holds the post of the executive head of the country? The judiciary safeguards fundamental rights and liberty of the people. Sometimes the executive may take a decision against the people´s fundamental rights. If the same person holds the post of the head of the judiciary and the executive, the judiciary cannot scrap the decision of the executive. The judiciary will remain as a body occupied by the executive and the existence of judiciary will hold no meaning in such a situation. Nnnn

PM WIFE HISHILA ACCUSED OF INTERFERENCE IN OFFICIAL WORK Kathmandu, 1 March: Keshab Staphit has come publicly against Hishila Yami, the wife of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattaai, for operating out on a cell in Baluwatar the official residence of the government chief and even SIngha Durbar. He accused her of running a cell and interfering in his work as Kathmandu Valley Development Authority. ”Deep differences developed with Hishila Yami the wife of the prime minister,” Staphit revealed and finally was sacked 14 months after the government’s appointment. “Hishila and her private secretary pressurized me unnecessarily.” Staphit gave other details of Hishila style of functioning and how she operated through the Office of the Prime Minster operates. “…. I was pressurized from some place in the office. I was pressurized unnecessarily into making appointments. It’s the prime minister who should be giving directions. Because of the differences, it became difficult for me to work.” Staphit added. ”I was personalized for personal work. This is not the work of the office of the prime minister.” He revealed pressures came from a’ room in at the PM;s office”. …. “There’s no people’s participation right now,” he said to the current expansion of roads and demolition of houses in the city ‘Government is on a demolition drive without consultation. Government is not going to houses and talking with people.” Staphit has been reinstated by the supreme court which overturned his dismissal by the Baburam Bhattarai government which appointed the former UML Mayor of Kathmandu. nnnn

PRACHANDA’S LATE APOLOGY AND RELIEF OF BUS BOMBING VICTIMS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Amid boycott of NC and UML and arrest of protestors , Maoist Chairman Prachanda inaugurated the Made Mahotsav in Chitwan Thursday. Black flags greeted the Maoist chief in the first visit in seven years, He announced a Rs.6 million for people of behalf of government. “People can use it in a manner they choose and like,” he said. Prachanda negotiated the relief with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and ministers of finance and peace Thursday before the Chitwan visit, the Maoist chief said. Thirty-nine persons were killed and 72 were injured seven years ago when Maoists ambushed a passenger bus along a river at Badarmudi in the district.. Prachanda apologized.for the bombing during the people’s war. Nnnn . TALKS UPDATE Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Talks between leaders of the Big Four in and out of government was inconclusive Thursday. Leaders said informal discussions will be held Friday ahead of another round of talks Friday to find an outlet to remove hurdles. ‘Talks were very positive. We are close to an agreement coming possibly tomorrow,” Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachedhar said. “Talks were positive,” another Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha of Maoists said. Nnnn NPC GETS ANOTHER CHAIRMAN Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Cabinet Thursday appointed senior Advocate Borna Bahadur Karki chairman of Nepal Press Council (NPC). Minister for Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Eknath Dhakal announced the appointment. nnnn

GOVT. MAKES MORE APPOINTMENTS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.:: The government has decided to provide incentive to the employees of Office of Auditor General (OAG) on the basis of performance, RSS reports. A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Thursday took a decision to that end. Similarly, the meeting has decided to accept loan assistance equivalent to Rs. 14.7 billion to be provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the Government for the implementation of Tanahun Hydropower Project, government spokesperson Raj Kishor Yadav said after the meeting. Likewise, the meeting has appointed Laxmi Gautam as the Chairperson of Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project Development Committee and Sher Bahadur Shahi to the chairmanship of Nalsinghgadh Hydropower Project Development Committee with the tenure of four years. As per the meeting decision, Shiba Bahadur Basnet and Narayan Prasad Poudel have been appointed the members of the National Sports Council. Similarly, the tenure of a high–level commission-2069 BS constituted for the reinstatement of conflict-hit teachers has been extended by the next two months. The meeting has decided to table the waste management regulations, 2069 BS at the legislation committee for discussions. According to government spokesperson and Minister for Information and Communications Yadav, the Cabinet has decided to remove the Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project from Humla and reinstate it to Jumla. Nnnn TIGER CENSUS BEGINS IN CHITWAN Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The counting of the rare Royal Bengal Tiger has started in Chitwan National Park to formulate a long-term plan for its protection and boost its population, RSS reports from Ratnanagar. . The entire park area has been divided into different sectors for this purpose, Chief Conservation Officer Phanindra Kharel said. He said the census has been started from the Triveni area in the western part of the park. One hundred and sixty ultra-modern cameras have been installed and more than 24 technicians mobilized for the census. A dozen elephants have also been employed for the census being done by adopting the camera-trapping and paw mark method, according to the park office. The counting would be done by keeping the cameras in a single block for 15 days. It is said that it will take nearly three months for completing the field work. The Chitwan National Park is home to the largest number of tigers in the country. Works on protection of the tiger are under way here in line with the policy of doubling the tiger population around the world by 2022. A census conducted in 2010 counted 125 tigers in the park. Nnnn GOLD PRICE DROPS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The bullion price was down Rs. 500 per tola today [Thursday] as compared to its price on Wednesday. Hallmark gold traded at Rs. 56,300 per tola in the domestic market, today whereas it traded at Rs. 56,800 per tola on Wednesday, Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers' Association (NEGOSIDA) stated, RSS reports.. Former Chairman of NEGOSIDA, Tejratna Shakya, said gold price slightly came down in the local market following a fall in its price in the international market by 13 US dollars per ounce. The price of gold has fallen as the exchange rate of US dollar decreased to some extent, he added. Similarly, silver traded at Rs. 1,050 per tola today, against Rs. 1,055 per tola on Wednesday. Nnnn

UPDATE PARAS BLOOD PRESSURE, HEART BEAT UNDER CONTROL Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Blood pressure and heart beat of former Crown Prince Paras ‘ remain under control’, a medical bulletin issued Thursday said. “His blood pressure and heart beat remain under control. Likewise, his condition remains stable but critical,” the bulletin signed by the M.D (Neurologist) Dr. Songchai Chinwattanakul, said Thursday... 15 KILLED IN BANGLADESH PROTESTS AFTER COURT DEATH SENTENCE Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: A Bangladesh tribunal convicted an Islamist party leader and sentenced him to death on Thursday, the third verdict by the court set up to investigate abuses during the country's independence war, triggering widespread protests by supporters in which at least 15 people were killed, Reuters reports from Dhaka. Delwar Hossain Sayedee, 73, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty of mass killing, rape, arson, looting and forcing minority Hindus to convert to Islam during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, lawyers and tribunal officials said. The religious party, known simply as Jamaat, had called for a day-long countrywide strike in anticipation of the verdict against Sayedee, the third senior party member convicted by the tribunal. Police, witnesses and media reports said at least 15 people were killed and around 200 wounded in clashes between Jamaat activists and police as violence erupted in more than a dozen districts. Protesters set fire to a Hindu temple and several houses in Noakhali district, south of Dhaka, reporters said. In southeastern Cox's Bazar, they attacked a police camp. In the capital, authorities deployed extra police and members of a rapid response force and put paramilitary soldiers on standby, a Home Ministry official told reporters. Thousands of people in the capital's Shahbag square, who support the tribunal and have been protesting for weeks to demand the highest penalty for war criminals, burst into cheers as the sentence was announced. Sayedee looked defiant and remained calm in the dock as judges read out the verdict, witnesses said. "I didn't commit any crime and the judges are not giving the verdict from the core of their heart," Sayedee told the court. "They are submitting to the excessive pressure from Shahbag," he said, referring to the protests. State prosecutor Haider Ali told reporters he was happy with the verdict which he said "appropriately demonstrated justice". Defense attorney Abdur Razzak said the sentence was politically motivated. "He is a victim of sheer injustice. We will appeal," he said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina set up the tribunal in 2010 to investigate abuses during the war that claimed about 3 million lives and during which thousands of women were raped, Reuters reports from Dhaka.. The tribunal has been criticized by rights groups for failing to adhere to international standards of due process. Human Rights Watch cited defense lawyers, witnesses and investigators as saying they had been threatened. Critics say the tribunal is being used by the prime minister as an instrument against her opponents in the two biggest opposition parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jamaat-e-Islami. Begum Khaleda Zia, Hasina's arch rival and leader of the BNP, has called the tribunal a farce. Hasina's party has denied allegations of bias. On January 21, the tribunal sentenced Abul Kalam Azad, a former Jamaat member, to death in absentia after he was found guilty of torture, rape and genocide during the independence war. In its second verdict, on February 5, the tribunal sentenced another senior Jamaat member, Abdul Quader Mollah, 64, to life in prison after he was found guilty of murder, rape, torture and arson. Both verdicts sparked protests by Jamaat supporters. But those protests incited larger counter-demonstrations by supporters of the tribunal demanding death sentences for all those responsible for abuses during the war. Nine more people, mostly Jamaat members, are facing trial for war crimes, tribunal officials said. The overwhelmingly Muslim south Asian country of 160 million people would likely see more violence in the run-up to parliamentary elections in January, in which both Hasina and Khaleda will run for power, analysts said. Jamaat is a potential ally of Khaleda's BNP and holds a big chunk of its vote bank. Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British colonial rule in 1947. But the country then known as East Pakistan won independence with India's help in December 1971 following a nine-month war against the then West Pakistan. Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan, including the Jamaat. Jamaat leaders have denied involvement in abuses. nnnn

LEADERS OF FOUR PARTIES AND MADESHBADI LEADERS IN GOVT, MEET TO END DEADLOCK Kathmandu, 28 Feb.:; Leaders of the four major political forces in and out of government Thursday began meeting to discuss a deadlock at a task force they forced to work out details for package agreement to enable formation of an election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. RSS reports:: A meeting of the taskforce scheduled for this afternoon has been postponed. Top leaders of the major political parties have given responsibility to the task force to forge consensus on remaining issues of the formation of the Chief Justice-led election government. The meeting scheduled at the Army Integration Special Committee Secretariat, New Baneshwor, was postponed at the last minute, it is learnt. Member of the taskforce and leader of the UCPN-Maoist, Khimlal Devkota, said that the meeting could not take place today due to various reasons. A meeting of top leaders of the major political parties held on February 26 had given responsibility to the taskforce to forge consensus on different issues including citizenship distribution, voters´ name list, peace process and formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission on the Disappeared. The taskforce has again given responsibility to top leaders on forging consensus on remaining issues though it had suggested for resolving constitutional and legal complexities including removing the obstacles. Today´s meeting of the taskforce was postponed as it failed to forge consensus on the disputed issues. Devkota said that a meeting of top leaders is likely to take place at 4:00 pm at New Baneshwor, today. NNNN

SUPREME COURT REGISTRAR REJECTS COTEMPT OF COURT CHARGE AGAINST CHIEF JUSTICE REGMI Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The supreme court Thursday didn’t register a contempt of court case filed by Advocate Sunil Ranjan Singh against Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi who has been dragged into the apex court after discussions with political party leaders and a statement clarifying his position on a request to lead an election government to hold a second constituent assembly election. An attempt has been made to ‘ undermine the position of chief justice and the court’s honour,” a statement issued by Assistant Registrar Nahakul Subedi said. Two writs have also been filed at the supreme arguing Maoist general convention move install a Regmi government was unconstitutional. Nepal Bar Association (NBA) said the consultation of Regmi with parties violated a code of condct for judges and he has already been dragged into a controversy. NBA said Regmi , cannot sit on the bench any longer. Parties have said the proposal was of President Dr..Ram Baran Yadav and foreign powers. Supreme court statement Thursday said Regmi hasn’t accepted the offer. Nnnnn . MECHI, MAHAKALI RALWAY REPORT COMPLETED Kathmandu, 29 Feb.: The government has kept the construction of the Mechi-Mahakali Railway in high priority considering the inevitability of the reliable development of roadway and railway for attaining long-term socio-economic prosperity in the country, RSS reports.. The Department of Railways says that the detailed project report (DPR) of the 135- kilometer Bardibas- Simara-Birgunj sector of the railway line has been completed in that connection. Similarly, the Department has begun works on appointment of the consultant for and preparing the DPR of the 223-kilometre Simara-Butwal-Bhairahawa sector of the railway. It has also begun works on preparing the model of the railway. Director General of the Department, Yogendra Rai, said that the government has moved ahead the works related to the Mechi-Mahakli Railway project by attaching high priority to it. The project would be constructed with the grant assistance of the Government of India. The Department has already called for the Expression of Intent for the construction of the railway track. Although the country presently has 53 kilometres of rail track, the narrow gauge trains are currently operational only on the 32-kilometres Janakpur-Jayanagar route. It is said that this ambitious 1,318-kilometre Mechi-Mahakali Railway Project would cost at least Rs. 800 billion. As per the government plan, another 185-kilometre rail track would be constructed from Kathmandu to the tourist city Pokhara. The government plans to construct the Mechi-Mahakali Railway Project under the public-private partnership model. Nnnn NEPALI TEAM FOR AFC CHALLENGE CUP Kathmandu, 28 Feb,: Names of the Nepali players for the AFC Challenge Cup. Forwards: Amar Dangol, Anil Gurung, Bharat Khawas, Chetan Ghimire, Santosh Shukhala, Jumanu Rai Midfield: Bhola Silwal, Bijay Gurung, Bikram Lama, Jagajeet Shrestha, Nirajan Khadka, Rajendra Rawal, Raju Tamang Defense: Bijay Dhimal, Biraj Maharjan, Jitendra Karki, Rabin Shrestha, Rohit Chand, Sagar Thapa, Sandip Rai Goalkeepers: Kiran Chemzong, Bikesh Kuthu, Ritesh Thapa. nnnn

VDC SECRETARIES WITHDRAW STRIKE Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Nearly 3,600 VDC secretaries nation-wide Friday withdraw an indefinite strike only after two days on protest. The protest was withdrawn after talks between secretaries following talks with government in the capital. A task force was formed to consider demands, including local elections. MORE UPDATE FORMER KING, QUEEN VISIT BANGKOK HOSPITAL WHERE SONPARAS IS BEING TREATED FOLLOWING HEART ATTACK Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Former King Gyanendra and Queen Komal Thursday morning visited a Bangkok hospital where son and former Crown Prince Paras is under treatment following a heart attack 19 February. The former royal couple consulted a team of doctors treating Paras. MORE NEPAL FOOTBALL SQUAD FOR AFC CHALLENGE CUP ANNOUNCED Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: A 23-member Nepali squad led by Sagar Thapa wad announced Friday by ANFA for the AFC Challenge Cup Group D matches beginning in the capital Saturday. Palestine arrived Thursday to participate in the tournament. Teams from Bangladesh and Northern Mariana Island arrived earlier in the week. Nepal plays it first match against Northern Mariana Island Saturday at Dashrath Rangashala.. MORE NSU DEMANDS GENERAL CONVENTION Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Leaders of Nepal Students’ Union, affiliated with main opposition NC, demanded a general convention Thursday. A memorandum was submitted to President Sushil Koirala. Students are divided between supporters of Koirala and senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. Nnnn EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION BUS TORCHED Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: A bus of the Golden Gate Academy was torched Thursday at Syambhu. Students were pushed out and the vehicle set alight. It wasn’t known who torched the bus. nnnn .

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

PM CALLS FOR FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has urged all to contribute one day´s earning to the New Nepal Building Fund for running social upliftment, economic progress and awareness-oriented programmes in the Country, RSS reports.. Prime Minister Bhattarai made this call in connection with the implementation of the Immediate Action Plan of Administrative and Financial Reforms-2069 issued by the government five months ago. On the occasion, the prime minister issued directives to bring a special action plan for the involvement of one million volunteers in the development works of the country and for mobilizing them. Acting Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Indra Prasad Upadhyay, said that the Prime Minister urged people and non-resident Nepalis to contribute at least one day´s earning to the Fund. The Prime Minister instructed the bodies concerned to have the private hospitals also to issue the ´patient charter´, curb the unhealthy advertisements in the health sector and put the ´for free´ label on medicines that are distributed free of cost and to keep the human resources at stand-by position so that medical teams with medicines could be dispatched immediately in places where epidemic has spread and to ensure doctors´ service in all the remotre places. Similarly, Prime Minister Bhattarai directed the people who have received the Bachelor and Masters degrees in specific subjects to work as volunteers for at least three months, pointing out that the public corporations should be rendered people-oriented and the work of increasing the government liabilities in unrestrained manner be curbed. He also directed the bodies concerned to make arrangements for providing capital subsidies on equipments used for processing meat, tea, cardamom, ginger, coffee, milk and citrus fruits, Upadhyaya said. He stated that the prime minister has issued special directives to the Ministry of Finance to formulate an action plan to bring into the tax net lavish feasts organized in functions like the sacred thread ceremony, the rice feeding ceremony, weddings etc. which are not taxable and to initiate immediate efforts to that end. According to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, a herbs collection and trading centre would be established in Surkhet within the current fiscal year, only nine per cent interest would be imposed on business loans to agriculture, dairy, fishery and poultry related entrepreneurs. The government would provide subsidy on the additional interest. Similarly, the age limit at which a citizen gets the social security allowance has been reduced to 65 years from 70 years and 50 per cent extra amount has been added to the allowance. The Prime Minister has once again issued directives so that the projects of national prestige do not face any kind of shortage of resources and that the load shedding does not cross more than 12 hours. Nnnn

AMBULANCE WITH CONCEALD HASH INTERCEPTED Kathmandu, 28 Feb. A consignment of 180kg hash hidden in an ambulance was intercepted at Amlekhjug in Bara by police. The ambulance was heading for Pathalaiya. Two persons have been arrested, including the driver. Nnnn SUSPECTED ABDUCTOR ARRESTED FROM CAPITAL Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Main abductor Hari Agrawal was arrested Wednesday from Naxal by Central Investigation Bureau. Agrawal is suspect in the abduction of trader Sanhaya Surekha and had evaded arrest for several months. Nnnn . APEX BANK BEING LAUNCHED THROGH MERGER Kathmandu, 28 Feb. Two development banks and two finance companies have decided to merge themselves into a commercial bank. Manakamana Development Bank, Infrastructure Development Bank, Yeti Finance and Valley Finance with a paid-up capital of Rs.2.17 billion decided to merge Wednesday. The merged bank will be named Apex Bank. Nnnn NEW HOTEL IN LAZIMPAT COMING UP Kathmandu, 28 Feb. A Rs.250 million three-star hotel is being built in Lainchaur where Hotel Ambassador was demolished, Nagarik reports. The complex will be built by Ace Hotels Resssort Group on two ropani land. .nnnn CORRECTION Kathmandu, 28 Feb-The fire at Nuwakot was at the election commission office. Documents relating to elections were destroyed. nnnn

NEPALI COUPLE FOUND DEAD IN NEW DELHI Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The decomposed bodies of a Nepali couple were found inside their house, police said on Wednesday, agencies report from New Delhi. The bodies were recovered from their rented house, which was locked from outside, in Govindpuri in south Delhi on Tuesday night, reported NDTV. Neighbours called the police about a foul odour coming out of the house. The woman's body has been identified as Pavitra (38), while the man's body is yet to be identified though police suspect it to be of Ram Bahadur, Pavitra's husband. The bodies were lying in the bathroom. The couple was last seen February 14 when they told their landlord they were going to their village in Nepal. They used to sell momos and were living in the locality for 11 months. Police is yet to ascertain whether they committed suicide by consuming poison or were killed. Nnnn TRIPLETS BORN IN TAPLEJUNG Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Triplets born at a hospital in Taplejung Tuesday. Salina Chauhan‚ 19‚ of Aambegudin VDC‚ gave birth to the boys named Ram‚ Laxman and Bharat Condition of the newborn babies and mother is normal‚ the district hospital said. According to father Bishnu Salina the first child weighing 1.3kg was born at 11:45 am at home. Salina was delivered the two other babies at a primary health centre in Telok. The triplets were born in a space of five hours. Nnnn

FIVE PARTY ANTI-GOVT. PROTEST THURSDAY Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Five parties, including CPN Maoist led by Mohan Baidhaya, are holding protests in 11 districts including Kathmandu, Thursday. CPN Maoist is a splinter group of ruling UCPN Maoist.. The parties oppose what they call a proposed ‘partyless government’ to be led by CHif Justice Khil Raj Regmi Opposition protest in the capital is scheduled at four in the afternoon. The parties, mainly splinter communist, oppose the election government, perceived foreign interference, CPN Maoist Spokesperson Phampa Bhusal said. nnnn. THREE POLICEMEN INJURED IN NUWAKOT FIRE Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Four persons, including three policemen, were injured overnight in neighbouring Nuwakot district. The policemen were on assignment at the Nepal Red Cross building. The fire destroyed documents and was doused in five hours. The fire may have been caused by electric short circuit, first reports said. nnnn DETAILS OF WEDNESDAY’S JHAPA ROBBERY Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: A robber looted cash Rs 800,000 after opening fire at a person in Surunga of Jhapa raod section along the East-West Highway, RSS reports from Bhadrapur.. The looter robbed the amount from Ashok Pokharel, 35, of Surunga-5 on the highway, confirmed Area Police Office, Birtamod. The robbed is said to be an employee at Prabhu Money Transfer. Two motorbike borne robbers following his motorbike (Me 4 Pa 4171) arbitrarily stopped him and decamped with the money. The looters had opened fire at his stomach while snatching money bag. Pokharel, being treated in BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, is said to be in critical condition. The robbers are at large and their search is on, said police. nnnn

INDIAN FOREST GUARDS, SHOOT, INJIJRE TWO NEPALIS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Two Nepalis of Gulariya, Bardiya, were shot and injured by an Indian forest security guard Tuesday while foraging at Murtiha. in India,. Ram Milan Lodha and Radheshyam Lodha were injured. Six Nepalis fled following the shooting. Nnnn TWO HELD WITH ILLEGAL WEAPONS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Police arrested two persons with illegal weapons from Gaushala VDC in Mahottari district on Wednesday, RSS reports from Mohottari. The arrestees were Pramod Sah and Umesh Ram Sah from the same VDC. Police arrested them from Gaushala Chowk-2 while undertaking routine security screening, said Inspector Jay Narayan Yadav. Police confiscated a pistol from them. Arrestees were kept in Area Police Office, Gaushala for further investigation. RSS nnnn VISITING INDIAN GURU MEETS TOP THREE COMMUNIST LEADERS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Visiting India Guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar held discussions with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in Baluwatar Wednesday. Maoist Chairman Prachanda also held a separate meeting at Hotel Soaltee UML leader KP Oli had met him. “You journalists should check conversion from Hinduism to Christianity,.” The visitor told journalists covering the visit of the Guru who prayed and offered puja at Pashupatnath temple. nnnn TASK FORCE PREPARES 20-POINT DRAFT FOR AMENDING CONSTITUTION Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The eight-member taskforce formed by the four major political forces has prepared a 20-point draft for amending the Interim Constitution but is yet to finalise it, mainly due to differing views from the four forces on whether to wait for the Supreme Court verdict on the issue of forming an election government under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi or not. A hearing on a writ against the ongoing process of making the chief justice the executive head is scheduled for March 7. The taskforce members today met at the office of the Special Committee but could only hold ‘conceptual discussions’ on the draft, according to Jitendra Dev of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic. The draft was prepared in collaboration with the officials from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Coalition partners — Unified CPN-Maoist and United Democratic Madhesi Front — have been pressing for beginning the process of removing constitutional difficulties without waiting for the court’s verdict, but the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have been saying that they should wait till March 7. “If all the constitutional difficulties are removed by getting ordinances approved from the President before March 7 and if the court ruling comes against forming CJ Regmi-led government, it will be suicidal,” say NC and UML. “This will create an easy situation for the Baburam Bhattarai-led government to continue. So we must wait for the court verdict,” sources quoted Minendra Rijal, a taskforce member representing NC, as telling Congress party’s internal meeting today. According to UML taskforce member Agni Kharel, NC and UML pressed taskforce members from the coalition partners to stop government’s recent transfer and promotion of police and civil servants, saying such a move could influence the upcoming elections. On Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution, the taskforce has proposed to form a government on the chairmanship of chief justice of the Supreme Court on the basis of political consensus instead of current provision of ‘forming the government on the basis of political consensus’. The new chief executive, which will be called chairman of an interim election government, will appoint members of the Cabinet and hold certain ministerial portfolios himself. The draft, however, has not mentioned what will happen to such a government in the event of its failure to hold polls on the said date. “In such situation, the decision taken by the government will prevail, as it happens in the case of present government. Since it is a matter of political consensus, parties will make necessary recommendation to the government, just as it is happening now. So we don’t need to mention this in the constitution amendment draft. It can be included in a deal that the parties are yet to seal,” said taskforce member Khimlal Devkota, a Unified CPN-Maoist leader. Devkota added that there was not much difference on constitution amendment issues and that the taskforce will meet tomorrow to discuss them in detail. According to the proposed draft, Chief Justice will be barred from judicial activities and he will return to his previous post after a new government comes in place following fresh elections. Every Nepali citizen who attained 18 years of age on April 12, 2012 will be able to cast his/her vote, according to the proposal. What’s keeping them at odds • UCPN-M, UDMF pressing for beginning the process of removing constitutional difficulties pronto • NC, UML fear that removing all constitutional difficulties before a court verdict on CJ-led government could be suicidal • NC says if the apex court rules against a CJ-led government on March 7, the situation could be in the incumbent government’s favour, helping it continue for long • Major forces divided on whether to mention in the constitutional amendment draft what will happen to a CJ-led government if it fails to hold polls on said date. Nnnn NC AWAITS SUPREME COURT VERDICT FOR NEXT POLITICAL MOVE ON GOVT. Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Nepali Congress Central Working Committee today decided that it would wait for the Supreme Court verdict and go accordingly to form the election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, The Himalayan Times reports.. NC spokesperson Dilendra Badu‚ after the CWC meeting held at the party President Sushil Koirala’s residence in Maharajgunj‚ said‚ “We are ready to appoint chief justice as the chief executive for holding polls barring him from the activities of the judiciary. However‚ we will wait till the court’s decision and shall respect whatever it decides.” The party is still discussing on different alternatives to protect the principle of separation of powers while appointing the chief justice‚ Badu added. Today’s meeting also urged the government to put an end to the recent decisions such as transfers of police and civil servants in important places with the view to influence the Constituent Assembly polls. According to CWC member Krishna Chandra Nepali‚ even today there was a mixed opinion on whether the CJ should be appointed as the chief executive or not. Some CWC members including Mahesh Acharya‚ Gagan Thapa and Jiban Bahadur Shahi opposed the party’s consent to the CJ’s appointment. “Although‚ we should not raise questions on the intention and integrity of the party leadership‚ we must raise question on the capacity of the leadership‚” Thapa said‚ according to sources. He suggested the party should go for a contempt of court case against the press statement and interview of CJ Regmi as his statement has already influenced the sub judice matter. Some other leaders including General Secretary Krishna Sitaula‚ CWC members Ram Sharan Mahat‚ Minendra Rijal‚ Gyanendra Bahadur Karki‚ Prakash Sharan Mahat‚ Krishna Chandra Nepali and Ajaya Chaurasiya have however defended the party leaders’ decision. They had said the CJ’s option was the best one at present to remove the Baburam Bhattarai-led government and go for polls. Nnnn POLICE VIOLATE OWN RULE IN DAFUR MISSION SELECTION Kathmandu, 29 Feb.: The Nepal Police has breached its own regulations while selecting senior personnel for peacekeeping duties in the UN Mission in Darfur, Ankit Adhikari, Pranindra Dahal write sin The Kathmandu Post.. A source at Police Headquarters, Naxal, said that the UN Division of the Nepal Police had violated its own rules by not conducting internal examinations and had recommended candidates affiliated to “power centres.” More than a dozen police officials were nominated last week as replacements for a group of 38 police personnel scheduled to return home from the conflict-ridden Sudanese city in March. However, Nepal Police spokesperson SP Pushkar Karki defended the selections were made without examinations citing time constraints before the troop leaves for the mission. According to SP Karki, the candidates will have to sit for a test conducted by the UN itself. “If they fail the test, they will have to return on the state’s own expenses,” he said. “Due to time constraints, headquarters was compelled to choose from among the best officials, who are not very likely to fail the UN’s examination.” The candidates nominated by Police Headquarters include DSP Tek Bahadur Tamang, a Personal Security Officer (PSO) for Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and recently promoted DSP Dan Bahadur Malla, the PSO for UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Three police officers from the UN Division, including DSP Dan Bahadur Karki and Inspectors Kobit Katawal and Angur GC, are among the nominated candidates for the UN mission. Since no examinations were held while selecting officials to be deployed in the mission, the nominations flout Article 5 of the Formed Police Unit (FPU) selection directives introduced last year by the then UN Division Chief SSP Ramesh Kharel. As per the provisions, police personnel from all designations to be assigned to UN missions need to sit for a competitive examination and pass a separate examination, the UNSAT, conducted by the UN itself. The controversial decision follows the January 18 transfer of SSP Kharel from the UN Division to the Bagmati Zonal Police Office. The new UN Division chief Devendra Subedi has yet to assume office. “The selection of 15 officials without any internal examinations make a mockery of the new directives. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has recommended candidates either close to political leaders in power or those close to himself,” said a high-level police source at the headquarters. According to the source, DSP Karki, who is looking after the UN Division in the absence of a superior official, manipulated the selection process by claiming that the quota allotted by the UN for the Nepal Police could cease if personnel were not nominated promptly. “The UN Division deliberately skipped the examination,” said the source. “They knew when the current troop in Darfur would return. They should have initiated the procedure for internal tests when there was ample time.” The Nepal Police is already facing a hard time in getting its personnel assigned to the UN mission in Darfur after the Sudan government, last year, rejected visas to a troop of 80 police officials from Nepal. While the reapplication for visas is under way, Police HQ has already deployed five of the officials to Liberia and three to South Sudan. Of the required 38 seats to be filled in March, 31 candidates who had passed last year’s selection test were on the priority list. The Police HQ, in its latest move, selected 15 officers to compensate for the eight transferred to destinations other than Darfur, along with seven for the March shift. DSP Karki said that the decision was approved by IGP Kuber Singh Rana himself. According to Karki, the UN would not come to Nepal to conduct a selection test for less than 50 posts. Hence, the nominated candidates will appear for the UNSAT after reaching their mission areas. “A name list of some 300 police personnel, with their set of skills and qualifications, was presented before IGP Rana and he tick-marked the best candidates,” said DSP Karki, arguing that the allegations of the selections being manipulated were baseless. The senior officials on the list, handpicked by the IGP, include SSP Subodh Ghimire and SP Sailesh Thapa. DSP Rajan Adhikari, who is at the secretariat of IGP Rana, is also on the nomination list that has been forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs for visa processing. Nnnn BID LOSS FOR ARMY IN AIRCRAFT PURCHASE FROM CHINA Kathmandu, 28 Feb.:A seven-year-old dispute concerning the purchase of two MA60 aircraft for the Nepal Army (NA) from a Chinese manufacturer finally came to an end this week, leading to a loss of over Rs 239 million for Nepal, Phanindra Dahal writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Nepal will receive only 50 percent of a down payment made in 2006 to the China National Aero Technology Import and E-xport Cooperation, according to a bilateral deal. Earlier this week, the Cabinet endorsed the settlement and asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to write to the Chinese government accordingly. In January 2006, the then Gyanendra Shah-led government had paid an advance of over $5.5 million for the purchase of two turboprop aircraft, whose total cost stood at over $15.9 million. Then Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa had agreed to the deal while on an official visit to Beijing in October 2005. After the second Jana Andolan in 2006, the Girija Prasad Koirala government had issued a white paper in the House of Representatives and effectively scrapped the deal. After 2006, the Chinese and Nepali sides held a series of negotiations to settle the dues but failed. Nepal had proposed alternatives, including continuing the MA60 purchase and an order for another aircraft for civilian purposes. The Chinese side, meanwhile, wanted Nepal to pay all the expenses, including for loss es incurred due to the termination of the deal, saying that the aircraft had already been completed as per Nepal’s requirements. “The Cabinet last week agreed to accept 50 percent of the down payment. The settlement was based on an understanding with the Chinese side,” said Ministry of Defence (MoD) Spokesperson Dwarika Prasad Acharya. The MoD has dispatched a letter to the MoFA, asking it to work towards recovering at least 50 percent of the payment made in the botched deal. In July 2010, the Nepali side had formed a five-member team, led by the Quarter Master General of the NA, which held talks with Chinese officials and the manufacturing company. During the talks, the Chinese side had expressed its readiness to provide 50 percent of the advance as a settlement. The Nepali side then asked China to consider providing military logistics equivalent to the remaining 50 percent. Nepal had sought help from the Chinese government to resolve the aircraft dispute and had even made diplomatic efforts both from home and through its mission in Beijing. Former NA Chief Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung had also solicited help from his counterpart Gen Chen Bingde, who visited Kathmandu in March 2011. Former Nepali Ambassador to China Tanka Karki said the Nepal government “frequently changed its position,” further complicating negotiations to secure the release of the advanced payment. “It would have been better had we negotiated for another aircraft for a similar price rather than accepting just the 50 percent,” said Karki. The MA60 aircraft are manufactured by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, which builds large and medium-sized aeroplanes. The deal was pushed by the controversial former royal adviser Sarad Chandra Shah, who was said to be the local Nepali agent for the company. The latest decision comes in the light of the government’s preparations to purchase two Mi-17 helicopters for the Army. nnnn

EIGHT-MEMBER TASK FORCE MEETS AGAIN THURSDAY TO TRY REMOVE DIFFERENCES Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: A eight-member task force of four main ruling and opposition parties and an alliance will meet again Thursday to resolve differences on constitutional and legal issues to pave the way for the installation of an election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. A meeting Wednesday was inconclusive after differences on issues like citizenship in the terai, rank of former Maoist PLA fighters who have joined Nepal Army and other issues. The recommendations have to be approved by leaders of the parties and a Madeshi frpnt in government. The leaders didn’t meet Wednesday with Maoist Chairman Prachanda away in POkhara. nnnn FORMER KING, QUEEN CONSULTING DOCTORS THURSDAY ON CONDITION OF PARAS THURSDAY Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Former King Gyanendra and Queen Komal will discuss Thursday medical treatment of their son and former Crown Prince Paras Shah at a Bangkok hospital where he’s undergoing treatment following a major heart attack, reports from the Thai capital said. The former royal couple drove straight to the hospital from the airport Wednesday to visit Paras who for the first time spontaneously moved some parts of his limbs following the 19 February heart attack. Parents of Paras flew for the Thai capital Wednesday to be with their son. Other family members, including Crown Princess Himani, are also in Bangkok. Three children ot Paras and Himani flew for the Thai capital with their grandparents. The former king, with a rudrakshayaa necklace, said the life of Paras was in the hands of God and doctors and asked for prayers from well-wishers before boarding a flight. RPP-Nepal activists gave the couple and their grandchildren a sendoff at TIA. Nnnn o . in Bangkokare; r THURSDAY MORNING CAPITAL TEMPERATURE 8 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Thursday morning in the capital at eight was 8 degrees Celsius. Mercury on a clear day is expected to rise to 25 degrees Celsius. Nnnn ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS NOT POSSIBLE IN JUNE ELECTION OFFICIALS SAY Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: At a time when political parties are trying to forge consensus on holding fresh polls by mid June, officials at the Election Commission (EC) have ruled out any possibility of conducting election in the given Time, Republica reports.. “Now, there is no place to compromise despite our flexibility to hold polls by mid-June,” said an EC official on condition of anonymity, adding, the given time is not sufficient. The constitutional body had prepared a 92-day plan to conduct polls and has said that polls can be held by mid-June if necessary legal and constitutional hurdles were removed by earlier this week. “It is very difficult to conduct polls by mid-June but we are still doing our best to make this possible,” EC Spokesperson Anil Kumar Thakur told Republica. The government is yet to appoint chief election commissioner and other election commissioners. EC officials said besides removing legal and constitutional difficulties, EC needs about five weeks to publish ballot papers, four to five weeks to update electoral rolls, and a month to register political parties, among other things. “Before we publish ballot papers, we must finalize the number of political parties to participate in the polls. Besides, Janak Educational Material Centre needs additional time for maintenance of machines,” stated the EC official, adding, “So, it does not seem possible to accomplish all these tasks in the given time.” Another EC official who also preferred anonymity said it would not be possible to review the number of election constituencies in accordance with the latest census by mid-June. EC has said Acts on Election Commission and election to the Constituent Assembly should be amended in order to hold fresh polls. Article 63 (7) of the Interim Constitution states that for the purpose of the election to the Constituent Assembly, every citizen of Nepal who has attained the age of eighteen years on or before 15 December 2007 shall be entitled to vote, as provided in the law. EC official stressed the need for amending Article 63 (7) stating that even eligible voters would be deprived of their voting rights as hundreds of thousands have not registered in the new voters´ list. Also, Article 142 (5) of the interim constitution needs to be amended as the article states that a petition with the support and signature of at least 10,000 voters shall be required for registration of a new party and the provision shall not apply to the parties represented in the Interim Legislature Parliament. Currently, the Interim Legislature Parliament is no more in existence. Similarly, Article 63 (3) (a) states that the members elected on the basis of first-past-the-post electoral system consisting of one member from each of the 240 election constituencies delimited by the Election Constituency Delimitation Commission constituted pursuant to Article 154 A, based on the population fixed by the national census preceding the election of the Constituent Assembly, while treating an administrative district as an elected district, and, as far as possible, maintaining the same proportionality between such districts and the number of members. Nnnn CASINOS NOT PROVIDING DETAILS ASKED BY POLICE Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Following the reports that casinos in the capital are skirting the ban on the entry of Nepalis by providing fake ownership and staff identity cards, the Metropolitan Police Range Office sought identity details of the staff and owners of all casinos operating in Kathmandu, Kamal Pariyar writes in Republica.. A circulation in this regard was dispatched to all the casinos last week, requiring them to submit the details within 10 days. However, none of the casinos have submitted the identification details till late Wednesday, according to DSP Chakra Bahadur Singh, spokesperson at Metropolitan Police Range Office (MPRO). Many casinos, a police official admitted, provide their regular customers with employee identity cards, whereas those flush with money are given cards that identify them as owners. So unless we get complaints against them, it is difficult for us to take actions against them, the official added. According to the police sources, some highly placed police officers, loaded political cadres and gangsters supply money to Nepali gamblers at different casinos. Such investors deploy agents and gangs to provide Nepali gamblers up to Rs 10 million. If a gambler wins, the money is taken back along with the high rate of interest on the spot. But if he loses the money, the investors issue threats and use hooligans until they get their money back. Police officials say hundreds of desperate gamblers have been living an underground life after failing to pay off such gambling debts. According to sources, Akash Shrestha of Sindhuli is one of the main lenders at the Everest Casino, whereas Sanjeev Lama aka Syal and Bisnu Lama supply money to gamblers at Casino Royal. Similarly, Dawa Lama funds the gamblers at Casino Sangrila, Arun Sendhai and Ajay Shrestha at Casino Rad, Sovit Silwal at Casino Venus and Ganesh Lama and Sanjeev Lama at Casino Anna. Nabin Kumar Ghimire, secretary at Ministry of Home Affairs, said, “We have asked the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Local Development to begin the process to restrict the entry of Nepalis into casinos.” An officer at the MPRO said that the police frequently conduct raids at casinos to arrest Nepali gamblers, but it is hard to arrest those who produce staff identity cards. But the newly launched campaign, he said, would curb the entry of Nepalese gamblers. AIG Navaraj Dhakal, commissioner at the Metropolitan Police Commissioner´s Office (MPCO), said, “I have instructed MPRO Chief SSP Rana Bahadur Chand to crack down on casinos by deploying policemen in plainclothes round the clock.” SSP Chanda said, “We will start taking actions after we get the details about employees and owners of casinos.” The casinos that are found flouting the rules would be locked, he added. Nnnn THREE CENTRAL HILL DISTRICTS HAS BIG POPULATION OF RED PANDAS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.:: The recent data has revealed that Dolakha, Ramechhap and Sindhupalchowk districts are the major habitats of red panda, popularly known as Habre in Nepal, The Rising Nepal reports from Dolakha. . All these districts are lies under the Gauri Shankar Conservation Area. A year long study conducted by the conservation area in 2012 showed that all these three districts are the habitat to approximately 4,000, 000 population of red panda. Project Chief of the conservation areas Satya Narayan Shah said under the conservation area Kalinchowk, Marbu and Shyama of Dolakha, Phulpingkatti and Tatopani of Sindhupalchwok and Gumdel and Chuchure of Ramechha districts are the major habitat of this animal. Before this, red panda was found at Langtang National Park and in a jungle of Tapljung district. Red panda has been enlisted in the list of endangered animal of the world. Since the red panda has been losing its existence, World Wild Fund (WWF) has been promoting its conservation my keeping the picture of red panda in their official logo. Red pandas that found in mountainous regions eat bamboo shoots and laves. This animal is gradually disappearing due to the rising cases of poaching, forest fire and unsafe habitat, said conservationists. Shah informed that the conservation campaign has been carried out at Gauri Shankar Conservation Area to preserve the red panda. The campaign has targeted to increase the population of red panda by 2/3 within 2017. Likewise, a campaign has been initiated in high hills of Western Rgion aiming to conserve critically endangered animal called pangolin. The campaign is being initiated by Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation by reaching different districts known as the habitat of pangolin. The foundation has been making people aware about the importance of pangolin for maintaining ecosystem. The rising poaching of pangolin scales has been threatening the existence of this endangered animal. The campaign is being carried out at hilly districts of Western Region, including Ilam, Tapljung, Sankhuwasabha and Dhankuta. In view of the increasing cases of scales poaching, the foundation has initiated the campaign with the support of WWF. Research Officer of the foundation, Kaustub Neupane and assistant Dipendra Adhikari have been making local aware about the pangolin conservation by reaching at each schools, VDCs, forest office, administration and police stations of Ilam. The high hills of Eastern and Mid-Western Region are the habitats of approximately 5,000 population of pangolin. There are all total eight species of Pangolin are found globally. While only two kinds of pangolin, including Kalo and Tame pangolin are available in Nepal. Neupane said that one pangolin could eat 70 million of insects per year that helps to keep crops away from the diseases. Thus, the conservation of pangolin is important to maintain ecosystem. National Park and Conservation Act has enlisted 27 species of mammals of Nepal in the list of endangered animal. The act has strictly banned the poaching and trade of such animals. If anyone found guilty for violating this act, then he/she has to pay compensation of Rs.70, 000 to 150, 000 and get two years of jail sentence. Likewise, the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) has also stated that the permission is necessary while taking such endangered animals from one country to another. Various conservationists have been claiming that the increasing tradeoff pangolin scales for the past five years have threatened the existence of this endangered animal. Nnnn POLLS POSSIBLE IN JUNE SAYS PRACHANDA Kathaamandu, 28 Feb.:: UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ Wednesday said that the fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election was still possible by mid-June, The Rising Nepal reports from Pokhara.. Speaking at a press meet organized by the Revolutionary Journalist’s Association here, he said that the political parties were ready and the Chief Justice (CJ), who had agreed to lead the government on political consensus, had also expressed strong will to hold election within three months. “Discussions are underway on other alternatives if the CA election could not held by mid-June due to unforeseen circumstances,” said chairman Dahal, clarifying that the country should go to the polls by mid-November in such case. He said that it would be ideal to move ahead on the basis of political decisions instead of letting the country linger in political stalemate. Stating that the parties would head forward by using the article related to removing constitutional and legal obstacles, he reiterated that no one could stop the country from going to the polls. “The political parties have finally consented on forming the government under the CJ keeping in view of special necessity of the country,” said Dahal, reiterating that rounds of discussions were held on other alternatives prior to settling on forming the CJ-led government. He said that the government under CJ Regmi was born out of the theory of necessity and added that alternative had garnered support of the international community. Chairman Dahal said that he had anouncede CJ Regmi’s name during the UCPN-Maoist convention as discussions were already held with the Chief Justice earlier about the formation of government under his leadership. “The new government would not take oath to office before the hearing of writ filed against the political consensus formed to make the CJ-led government scheduled for March 7 at the Supreme Court,” he said. He clarified that consensus would be forged by the political parties to form CJ-led government for holding CA election by removing obstacles on Thursday. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “Youth Association Nepal [YAN] will continue working against corrupt and anti-democratic forces and provide security to the party, Basnet said at a press meet held in Butwal by Press Chautari on Wednesday. “It works just like the police.” (Newly elected UML YAN Chief Mahesh Basnet, The Rising Nepal, 28 Feb) nnnn

FORMER KING THANKS ALL FOR CONCRN SHOWN FOR PARAS Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Former king Gyanendra Shah and former queen Komal flew to Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon to see their ailing son, former Crown Prince Paras, who is in a state of coma at a hospital there since February 19, The Himalayan Times reports.. Along with their three grandchildren --Paras's son Hridayendra and daughters Poornika and Kritika -- the royal couple boarded the regular 1:55 pm flight of Thai Airways to Bangkok. Before entering the international terminal of the Tribhuvan International Airport, the former king briefly talked to the media corps and thanked all for showing concerns over his son's health and praying for his recovery. ”I’ve been informed about the critical health condition of my son," he said in a humble tone, "I'll inquire about his state; I'll inquire with the doctors about it,” Shah said. "At this time, we've two important things to do. First is to have faith in gods. And, the other is to bank on the skills of doctors," he said in Nepali. "Prayers are being held at many places across the country," he said, "You also please pray for his speedy recovery." Army doctor accompanies Phani Raj Pathak, an aide of the royal family, informed that Nepal Army's Dr. Kishore Rana is accompanying the royalty. Dr. Rana is a brigadier general and works at the Chhauni-based Army Hospital. After he suffered a massive heart attack on February 19 night, Paras was rushed to the Srinakarin-based Samitivej Hospital. Later he was moved to the hospital's Sukhumvit branch. With no significant change in his medical condition, Paras has been kept on the ventilator life support since he blacked out. Yesterday evening, the hospital had described his condition as "very critical but stable." Shifting hospital or calling foreign docs? Meanwhile, our correspondent Chandra Shekhar Adhikari informed from Bangkok that the former king is scheduled to visit Samitivej Hospital at 8 p.m. local time to acquire information about Paras. He will meet all the doctors attending Paras tomorrow morning. The royalty will stay in J D Marine Hotel. Scores of Nepali living in Bangkok have gathered at the hospital to meet the former king. Referring to sources, Adhikari said Paras's body temperature is stable at 37 deg C today, while there is no improvement in his pulse. "After consulting the doctors tomorrow morning, the royal family will decide whether to shift Paras from the hospital to other facility or bring foreign doctors to assist in the treatment." Scores of Nepali living in Bangkok have gathered at the hospital to meet the former king. Paras's wife Himani, sister Prerana and other relatives are already in Bangkok to be by side the 42-year-old wayward royal. nnnn INDIAN LEADER IN TOWN Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Former Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh State of India and All India Congress Committee (AICC) member Satyadev Tripathi has said the people of Nepal and India have been enjoying old-age friendly relations, RSS reports.. Addressing a face-to-face programme on "Nepal-India Relations", organised by the Nepal-India Awadh Friendship Society in the capital on Wednesday, Tripathi said cultural ties existing at the people's to people-level of the both countries were very good. AICC Uttar Pradesh former general secretary Narbadeshwor Shukla was also present on the occasion. Leader of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Republican) Ekwal Ahamad Saha, Terai-Madhesi Loktantrik Party leader Ishwor Dayal Mihsra and Civil Rights Protection Party coordinator Upendra Jha underlined the need of further promoting the Nepal-India relations. The AICC is the Presidium or central decision-making assembly of the Indian National Congress Party. - See more at: Nnnn MAJOR PARTIES TRYING TO REVIVE MONARCHY SAYS CPN MAOIST LEADER GURUNG Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Secretary of the CPN-Maoist, Dev Gurung, has alleged that the four political parties were making an attempt to revive the monarchy by hauling the Chief Justice to the post of Prime Minister, RSS reports from Sahkhuwasabha. . Talking to journalists at Khandbari on Wednesday, Gurung said that the four major political parties do not have the key for ruling the country with them. "Rather extraneous forces were ruling the country, " he said, alleging the four parties of working to undermine the achievements made by the people through the decade-long People's War and the People's Movement—2 by making the Chief Justice the prime minister. Let the political parties that are making efforts to appoint the Chief Justice the Prime Minister say frankly to the people that all their efforts are directed to revive the monarchy, he said. He opined that a way out of the present political deadlock could be found through federalism based on ethnic identity, regionalism, economic classes by safeguarding nationality. nnnn

ONE INJURED IN ABANDONED BOMB EXPLOSION IN KAVRE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: One person was injured Wednesday in an explosion—apparently a bomb-- at Bhimkhori VDC-5, Mampi Bazaar, in Kavre. Muluk Singh Lama ,45,,was injured. Nir Bahadur Rayamajhi and his wife, brought the devise home, thinking it was a potato. The couple asked Lama for suggestions and the devise exploded. The incident occurred one day after bob disposal units of Nepal Army defused bombs planted by CPN Revolutionary Maoist at four places, Nnnn GOVT. UNDER CHIEF JUSTICE A LAST TRY Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has said that the proposal to constitute an election government under the leadership of the Chief Justice (CJ) has come as the last resort with the political parties exhausting all other options, RSS reports from Biratnagar.. Talking to journalists at the Biratnagar Airport today, he said that this proposal has been brought through consensus among the major political forces. The Deputy Prime Minister also expressed the confidence that the CJ-led election government would be formed as the major political forces have agreed on it. Stating that this option has come amidst big differences for the sake of resolving the nation's problem, he said that the political parties have adopted a great deal of tolerance to resolve the complexities before the nation through holding the election. DPM Gachchhadar, who is also the President of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal-Democratic, said that the political parties are holding consultations with the law professionals opposing the proposal of constituting election government under the leadership of the Chief Justice and the constitutional experts on this issue. Stressing that the nation is of supreme interest, he urged one and all to accept the proposal on CJ-led election government for the overall national interests and for institutionalisation of democracy. The Deputy Prime Minister also said that the political parties have now geared for the election. He declared that if the election cannot be held within the coming mid-June due to technical and constitutional complications, the new government will conduct the polls within November of this year. nnnn

FIRE AGAIN AT BUTANESE REFUGEE CAMP Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: As many as five houses were destroyed by fire at the Bhutanese refugee camp at Shanishchare-1 in Morang district Tuesday night, RSS reports from Biratnagar.. According to the District police office, Morang, the fire started from a house of Purna Bahadur Subba at sector L1 hut no. 44 of the camp. Subash Rai (17) of the camp was injured in the incident and is undergoing treatment at a local health post. Police personnel, fire brigade and locals brought the fire under control at 11 pm, said police. Details of loss caused by the fire have not been ascertained yet. nnnn - DFID ATTEMPTS TRANSPARENCY IN AID DISBURSEMENT Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: The United Kingdom´s Department for International Development (DFID) country office here has improved systems as part of its commitment to aid transparency and accountability – a global movement to foster donor openness and effectiveness of development assistance, Krishna Sapkota writes in RSS.. DFID has come up with reforms within its system to ensure dissemination of information to beneficiaries in an easy and timely manner. The reforms are deemed important at a time when there is widespread criticism that donors themselves are opaque in their actions and financial resource allocations resulting in wasteful spending of foreign aid and ineffective development outcomes. The top bilateral donor in Nepal for fiscal year 2010-11 has adopted five major actions for reforms acknowledging that it took the recommendations of a pilot study on aid transparency situation in Nepal recently published by Freedom Forum in collaboration with aidinfo program at Development Initiatives in the UK on-board. "We have published an annual portfolio report for 2011/12 both in English and Nepali to help understand our portfolio and access our online information more easily. This is available at," said Philip Smith, Deputy Head of DFID Nepal. Similarly, the DFID has designated a contact point for enquiries about all DFID Nepal data and also welcomed to contact its Head/Deputy Head if it was related to more important question about their program. In a bid to make them aware of their aid transparency commitments and ensure smooth flow of information to beneficiaries, the donor agency has also instituted regular meetings with their project/programs partners and implementers, Smith added. "All press releases we make for our projects/programs are distributed to media organizations operating in the project-implemented regions and districts," said the DFID sources. He further said that they would continue to undertake regular audits of all information on the DFID website to ensure accuracy as per their transparency requirements. "It is a welcome the DFID´s realization to advance aid transparency and accountability agenda as per its solemn pledge for development effectiveness of aid," said Taranath Dahal, Chairperson of Freedom Forum, adding, "The significant reforms would such measures." It is a glaring example of responsive governance, he commented. The report based on a survey of seven donor agencies -the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, DFID, JICA, Norwegian Embassy, USAID and UNDP - recommended the development partners to strictly adhere to the Right to Information Act-2007 and develop citizen friendly information outreach mechanisms to disclose relevant information in a routine manner. Globally the DFID has led the way on aid transparency amongst donors, Smith noted, adding that they regard transparency as fundamental to improving its accountability to both UK and Nepali citizens. It is worth-mentioning that the DFID was the first donor agency to publish data to the new standard from the International Aid Transparency Initiative and was recently assessed the world´s number one organization on aid transparency in the 2012 Aid Transparency Index. United Kingdom is the top bilateral donor in Nepal for the fiscal year 2010-11 which supports US$92.1 million followed by Japan (US$58.7 million) and India (US$ 50.7 million), according to Development Cooperation Report 2010/11 published by Ministry of Finance of Nepal Government. nnnn

VDC SECRETARIES IN STRIKE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: : The VDC Secretary Rights Protection Center, Nepal and Village Development Committee Employees Association, Nepal have jointly launched an agitation from today, calling for election of the local bodies within mid-June, RSS reports. Regular activities of local bodies across the country have come to a halt from Wednesday, owing to the agitation launched by these organizations. The National Federation of Village Development Committees, Nepal has also expressed solidarity to the agitation announced demanding the local bodies´ election. It may be noted local bodies have been running without people´s representatives for the past 11 years. The Federation has expressed concerns over the non-implementation of the Supreme Court verdict given on November 7, 2012 directing the government to give priority to the local bodies´ election and make all arrangements to hold election in an appropriate time. The Federation has accused the government of becoming apathetic towards conducting the local bodies´ election. The Federation urged the government to immediately announce the date for local bodies´ election. "Otherwise the government and the political parties will be responsible of any untoward consequence", the Federation warned. Nnnn THREE DEAD IN SWITZERLAND SHOOTING Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: A shooting at a wood-processing company in central Switzerland on Wednesday left three people dead and seven injured, some of them seriously, prosecutors said, AP reports from Berlin.. The shooting occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at the premises of Kronospan, a company in the small town of Menznau, west of Lucerne. "There were three dead and seven injured, some of them seriously injured," prosecutors´ spokesman Simon Kopp told Swiss newspaper Blick. He said the assailant was among the dead. The local Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper cited a witness as saying that the shooter opened fire in the company canteen. It was not immediately clear who the shooter was, what the motive might have been or whether the assailant worked for the company. According to the local town council, Kronospan has some 450 employees. Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland, thanks to liberal regulation — a 2012 referendum to tighten controls failed — and a long-standing tradition for men to keep their military rifles after completing compulsory military service. An estimated 2.3 million firearms are owned by the country´s 8 million people. But gun crime is relatively rare, with just 24 gun killings in 2009, which works out to a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The U.S. rate that year was about 11 times higher. Still, there have been several high-profile incidents over the years, including the killing of 14 people at a city council meeting in Zug, not far from Lucerne, in 2001. Last month a 33-year-old man killed three women and wounded two men in a southern Swiss village. Nnnn

SPONTANEOUS MOVEMENTS OF SOME LIMBS OF PARAS Kathmandu, 27 Feb. There were some spontaneous movements of limbs of former Crown Prince Paras Wednesday at a Bangkok hospital where hs is being treated following a heart attack last Tuesday. "Some spontaneous movements of the limbs has been observed today. The blood pressure and heart rate are maintained without the need of medication," the latest medical bulletin of the condition of the only son of former King Gyanendra and Queen Komal said. The hospital said condition of Paras was ´critical but stable´. nnnn

UML STANDING COMMITTEE AGREES TO A CHIEF JUSTICE LED GOVT. Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: After a two-day discussion, UML standing committee Wednesday agreed on an election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raaj Regmi. A section in the party led by former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal ipposed a Regmi-led government. nnnn UPDATE NO AGREEMENT IN TASK FORCE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: There was no agreement Wednesday in an eight-member task force to four major political forces in and out of government to prepare a pack age agreement , including constitutional and legal issues, to pave the way for installation of an election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Raj Regmi. The meeting was adjourned until Thursday. GOLD PRICE INCREASES Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Gold price increased in the local bullion market Wednesday by Rs.500 per tola. The yellow metal was traded for Rs.56.800 per tola. Nnnn MAN SHOT AND INJURED IN BIRTAMODH Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Ashok Pokhrel was shot and injured at Birtamodh, Jhapa, Wednesday. Shooters decamped with Rs.600,000 he had cashed from banks in the town. nnnn

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

SHARE PRICES SLUMP Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Share prices slumped Wednesday soon after market opened for trading on the fourth day of weekly five-day trading. Prices fell 5.8 points after gains for two consecutive days amid political uncertainly over formation of an election government. Nepse slumped to 539.74 points. nnnn FIVE PARTY PROTESTS Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: CPN Maoist and four other parties Wednesday called nation-wide protests Wednesday against formation of proposed election government headed by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. The parties charge foreigners are behind the move to form a new government. Meanwhile, CPN Maoist vandalized the office of the Saptakoshi in Dhankuta village saying construction of a dam across the river is against Nepali interests. India is pushing for the construction of a high dam. Nnnn CPN-MAOIST LAUNCHES AWARENESS CAMPAIGN Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: CPN-Maoist District Committee, Ilam has decided to conduct Limbuwan Peopler Awareness Campaign for three months, RSS reports from Ilam.. A two-day meeting concluded in district headquarters today decided to launch the campaign mobilizing party cadres in five groups. The meeting decisions were disclosed by issuing press release. According to the decisions, they would organize area-wise people´s gathering, public assembly in 48 VDCs and one municipality, conference of National Liberation Fronts of Kirant and Limbuwan, Martyrs Weekly programme and celebrating People´s Movement Day. The meeting also formed a 23-member Joint People´s Struggle Committee. Nnnn

STUDENT UNION ELECTIONS 8 APRIL Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Student union elections are being held in campuses 8 April. Student representatives and Tribhuvan University officials reached an agreement Tuesday. Voting is being conducted for the first time after 2011 under a mixed system of voting conducted with backing of political parties. Nnnn SSP RAVI RAJ SHRESTHA’S SUSPENSION EXTNDED Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: SSP Ravi Raj Shrestha:s suspension has been extended by a month. By the home ministry Tuesday. SSP Shrestha was suspended 31 October to investigate involvement currency smuggling at TIA. Nnnn FIRE AT ILLEGAL KOLKATA MARKET KILLS 18 Kathmandu, 27 Feb.:A fire broke out at an illegal six-story plastics market in the India n city of Kolkata early Wednesday morning, killing at least 18 people, police said, AP reports from Kolkata. The blaze, which started before 4 a.m., was likely caused by a short circuit, said West Bengal fire minister Javed Khan. The fire was under control by mid-morning, he said, but toxic gases being released by the blaze was hampering rescue efforts. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said at least 18 people had died. He said police were looking for the owner of the building, which was filled with dozens of small shops selling various plastic products. At least eight people were hospitalized in critical condition and the death toll was expected to rise, Khan said. He called the scene of the fire "an illegal, unauthorized market." nnnn

STUDENT UNION ELECTIONS 8 APRIL Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Student union elections are being held in campuses 8 April. Student representatives and Tribhuvan University officials reached an agreement Tuesday. Voting is being conducted for the first time after 2011 under a mixed system of voting conducted with backing of political parties. Nnnn SSP RAVI RAJ SHRESTHA’S SUSPENSION EXTNDED Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: SSP Ravi Raj Shrestha:s suspension has been extended by a month. By the home ministry Tuesday. SSP Shrestha was suspended 31 October to investigate involvement currency smuggling at TIA. Nnnn FIRE AT ILLEGAL KOLKATA MARKET KILLS 18 Kathmandu, 27 Feb.:A fire broke out at an illegal six-story plastics market in the India n city of Kolkata early Wednesday morning, killing at least 18 people, police said, AP reports from Kolkata. The blaze, which started before 4 a.m., was likely caused by a short circuit, said West Bengal fire minister Javed Khan. The fire was under control by mid-morning, he said, but toxic gases being released by the blaze was hampering rescue efforts. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said at least 18 people had died. He said police were looking for the owner of the building, which was filled with dozens of small shops selling various plastic products. At least eight people were hospitalized in critical condition and the death toll was expected to rise, Khan said. He called the scene of the fire "an illegal, unauthorized market." nnnn

EIGHT-MEMBER TASK FORCE TO PREPARE PACKAGE AGREEMENT Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: A eight-member task of four major parties with two members each from the Big Three and five-member Madesh Morcha in government is giving final touches to a package agreement to remove constitutional and legal hurdles to install; an election government headed by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. Law ministry is working behind the scene in preparing the package withr constitutional amendments. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said ’15 to 20’ hurdleshve to e resolved for formation of a Regmi-led government. . With Maoist Chairman Prachanda away in Pokhara, meeting of the four major political players isn’t expected Wednesday to discuss a political deadlock. nnnn FURTHER DETAILS OF DHADING RAPE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: A Chepang nursing mother, who was asleep outside home for space limitation, was raped at 12 on last Monday night, RSS reports from Dhading.. Police on Tuesday nabbed Min Bahadur Ale Magar, 42, of Dhupa VDC-9, Gransibas for allegedly raping the nursing mother, said Deputy Superintendant of Police Bikas Raj Khanal. Husband of the victim woman on Tuesday registered FIR at District Police Office, Dhading demanding stern action against the criminal for arbitrary act. A rape case was filed against Ale Magar and action will be taken accordingly, said police sources. The rape d woman is being treated at District Hosptial Dhading . nnnn TWO KILLED IN ITAHARI BUS ACCIDENT UPDATE Kathmandu, 27 Feb.: Two youth were killed Wednesday in a bus accident on the Dharan -Itahari road stretch along the Koshi Highway. At least 16 passengers were injured. The bus heading for Dharan from Kakadbhitta overturned trying to avoid hitting a cyclist. Nnnn